DNA test that replaces Pap smear draws criticism

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A high-tech screening tool for cervical cancer is facing pushback from more than a dozen American patient groups, who warn that the genetic test could displace a simpler, cheaper and more established mainstay of women’s health: the Pap smear.

The new test from Swiss drug maker Roche uses DNA to detect the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. While such technology has been available for years, Roche now wants the Food and Drug Administration to approve its test as a first-choice option for cervical cancer screening, bypassing the decades-old Pap test.

But a number of women’s groups — including the American Medical Women’s Association and Our Bodies Ourselves — warn that moving to a DNA-based testing model would be a “radical shift” in medical practice that could lead to confusion, higher costs and overtreatment.

Read the full, original story: Genetic alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

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